Amazon

Amazon logo

Amazon is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It started as an online marketplace for books but expanded to sell electronics, software, video games, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry.

Quick Fact

Summary

  • Ranked #13th worldwide
  • Active users 300 M
  • Type Shopping networks
  • Launched date Jul 5, 1994
  • Employees 1,271,000
  • Headquarters Seattle, Washington, U.S.
  • Parent company None

Founders

person
Jeff Bezos New Mexico

Networks

  • Brand value In 2020 $415.9 B
  • Revenue in 2020 $386.1 B
  • Net loss In 2020 N/A

Current Controversies

Current ControversiesAmazon Employees organized the protest in Sep.

(via Jason Redmond/Getty Images).

Amazon has been criticized for practices including technological surveillance overreach, a hyper-competitive, and demanding work culture, tax avoidance, and anti-competitive behavior.

Criticism Of Amazon

Criticism Of AmazonPresident Trump attacks Amazon again in a new tweet.

(via Getty Images ).

In early 2018, President Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Amazon's use of the United States Postal Service and its prices for the delivery of packages, stating, "I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy," Trump tweeted. "Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them borne [sic] by the American Taxpayer."

However, analyst Tom Forte pointed to the fact that Amazon's payments to the USPS are not made public and that their contract has a reputation for being "a sweetheart deal".

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

Amazon.com was started as an online bookstore by Jeff Bezos in Jul 1994 in his garage, where he along with a few employees started developing the software for the site.

Gradually they expanded their operations and moved from a garage to a two-bedroom house.

Bezos launched the test site in July 1995 and received a phenomenal response upon the launch.

Amazon shipped books across the United States and in 45 countries in just 30 days of its launch-making it an instant hit.

Brief History

1994
Jul Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos.
1997
May Amazon IPOs at $18.00/share, raising $54M.
1998
Apr Acquired the Internet Movie Database, a comprehensive repository for movie information on the Internet.
Aug Amazon announces that it will move beyond books.
2002
Jan Launched Free Super Saver Shipping, which allows customers to get free shipping for orders above $99.
Mar Amazon settles its Oct 1999 patent infringement suit against Barnes & Noble.
2003
Oct Launched A9.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com based in Palo Alto, California.
Sep First profit announced.
2004
Aug Acquired Joyo, an online bookstore in China, for $75M.
2005
Feb Launched Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States.
Nov Launched Amazon Mechanical Turk, an application programming interface (API).
2006

Amazon agrees to settle a legal dispute with Toys R Us and pays $51M.

Mar Launched Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Aug Launched Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a virtual site farm.
Sep Launched Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
2007
Aug CreateSpace announced the launch of the Books on Demand service.

Launched AmazonFresh, a grocery service offering perishable and nonperishable foods.

Sep Launched Amazon Music, an online music store and music locker.
Nov Launched the Amazon Kindle.
2009
Jul Acquired Zappos for $850M.
Oct Barnes & Noble announces the Nook, an eReader.
2010
Jul Announced that e-book sales for its Kindle reader outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time.
2011
Jan Acquired Lovefilm, a DVD rental service.
Feb Borders Group, outcompeted by Amazon, applies for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Amazon rebrands its Amazon Video service like Amazon Instant Video and adds access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.

Mar Launched the Amazon Appstore for Android devices and the service was made available in over 200 countries.
Jul California starts collecting sales taxes on Amazon.com purchases.
Sep Launched Amazon Locker, a delivery locker system.

Announced the Kindle Fire, a tablet computer.

2012
Mar Amazon acquired Kiva Systems for $775M, a robotics company that creates robots.
Apr The Department of Justice filed suit against Apple Inc and five major publishing houses (the "Big Five").

Agreed to allow the collection of sales taxes in both Nevada and Texas.

Agreed to create 2,500 jobs and invest $200M in new distribution centers in Texas.

Sep Announced the Kindle Fire HD series of touchscreen tablet computers.
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2013
Mar Acquired social reading and book-review site GoodReads.
Jun Launched in India.
2014
Jul Launched the Amazon Fire.
Aug Acquired the video game streaming website Twitch for $970M.
Oct Amazon reached an agreement with Simon & Schuster, allowing the publisher to adopt the agency pricing model and set prices on its books sold on Amazon.

Launches m.facebook.

Nov Amazon unveils Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker, and voice command device.

Amazon resolves a dispute with Hachette, allowing Hachette to adopt the agency pricing model and set prices on Hachette books sold on Amazon.

2015
Mar Launched Amazon Home Services.
Aug Launched Amazon Underground.
Sep Launched Amazon Restaurants service that delivers food from nearby restaurants, for Amazon Prime customers in Seattle.
Nov Opened the first physical retail store (known as Amazon Books), a bookstore in the University Village shopping center in Seattle.
Dec Began moving into their new headquarters campus in the Denny Triangle neighborhood of Seattle, beginning with the 38-story Amazon Tower I.
2016
Oct Amazon Music Unlimited was released in the United States.
Dec Amazon Prime Air (Amazon's drone-based delivery system) makes its first delivery in Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
2017
Jul Facebook expandeAcquires Whole Foods for $13.7B, a high-end grocery store located throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
Sep Began search for Amazon HQ2, a second company headquarters to house up to 50,000 employees.
2018
Jan Amazon narrows down the choices of its second headquarters location to 20 places.

Opened a cashier-less grocery store (Amazon Go) to the public.

Sep Launched in Turkey.
Oct Amazon raises its minimum wage for all U.S. and U.K. employees to $15 an hour, including Whole Foods and seasonal employees.
2019
Feb Amazon cancels plans to open new HQ2 in New York City.

Network Features

Amazon.com's product lines available on its website include several media (books, DVDs, music CDs, videotapes, and software), apparel, baby products, consumer electronics, beauty products, gourmet food, groceries, health and personal-care items, industrial & scientific supplies, kitchen items, jewelry, watches, lawn and garden items, musical instruments, sporting goods, tools, automotive items, and toys & games.

The company started an online delivery service dedicated to prescription drugs. The service provides discounts up to 80% for generic drugs and up to 40% for branded drugs for Prime subscribe users.

The products can be purchased on the company's website or at over 50,000 bricks-and-mortar pharmacies in the United States.

Room Detector is Amazon’s latest AR feature which is able to digitally place a number of furniture or home decor items into a user’s home at once. The products in the AR view are shown both in scale and in high-definition, so there’s less confusion about how the item looks in real life.

Room Detector
																Room Detector on Amazon. (via techcrunch.com)

Amazon Day is a free delivery option for Prime members to select up to 2 preferred days of the week for receiving items. Items ordered throughout each week with Amazon Day delivery will be delivered on your preferred days.

Amazon Day
																Amazon Day. (via businessinsider.com)

Amazon Fresh offers grocery items for sale, as well as a subset of items from the main Amazon.com storefront. Items ordered through Amazon Fresh are available for home delivery on the same day or the next day, depending on the time of the order and the availability of delivery slots.

Amazon Fresh
																Amazon Fresh grocery in London. (via wembleypark.com)

Amazon Prime is a paid subscription program from Amazon which is available in various countries and gives users access to additional services otherwise unavailable or available at a premium to other Amazon customers.

  • Video is a subscription video-on-demand over-the-top streaming and rental service of Amazon.com, Inc., offered as a standalone service or as part of Amazon's Prime subscription.
  • The service primarily distributes films and television series produced by Amazon Studios or licensed to Amazon, as Amazon Originals (or Exclusives), with the service also hosting content from other providers, content add-ons, live sporting events, and video rental and purchasing services.

Amazon Prime
																Amazon Prime. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Web Services provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis.

These cloud computing web services provide a variety of basic abstract technical infrastructure and distributed computing building blocks and tools.

One of these services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which allows users to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet.

Amazon Web Services
																Amazon Web Services logo. (via amazon.com)

Alexa is a virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon, first used in the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Echo Dot.

It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news.

Alexa
																Amazon Web Services logo. (via amazon.com)

The Amazon Appstore for Android is an app store for the Android operating system operated by Amazon.com. It is the package app store for Amazon's Fire OS operating system, used on all of Amazon Fire tablets, including the Fire HD products.

The Amazon Appstore
																Amazon Appstore for Android. (via extremetech.com)

Amazon Drive: The service offers secure cloud storage, file backup, file sharing, and Photo printing. Using an Amazon account, the files and folders can be transferred and managed from multiple devices including web browsers, desktop applications, mobiles, and tablets.

Amazon Drive
																Amazon Drive logo. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Music is a music streaming platform and online music store operated by Amazon. All tracks were originally sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM; however, some tracks are now watermarked. Licensing agreements with recording companies restrict the countries in which the music can be sold.

  • Amazon Music Unlimited is a full-catalog unlimited streaming service, available as a monthly or annual subscription. It is billed in addition to, and available without an Amazon Prime account. The service later expanded to users in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria.
Amazon Music
																Amazon Music. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Digital Game Store is a digital video game distribution service owned by the international electronic commerce company Amazon.com.

Amazon Studios is an American television and film producer and distributor that is a subsidiary of Amazon. It specializes in developing television series and distributing and producing films.

Content is distributed through theaters and Amazon Prime Video, Amazon's digital video streaming service that competes with services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount, Peacock, Disney, and Apple TV.

Amazon Studios
																Amazon Studios logo. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Books is a chain of retail bookstores owned by online retailer Amazon. The store also sells Amazon electronics, including the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, the Kindle Fire tablet series, the Amazon Echo, and the Amazon Fire TV. Two locations of Amazon Books have a cafe.

  • Fire TV is a line of digital media players and micro consoles developed by Amazon. The devices are small network appliances that deliver digital audio and video content streamed via the Internet to a connected high-definition television.
  • Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which will respond when a user says "Alexa". Users may change this wake word to "Amazon", "Echo" or "Computer".
  • It can also control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. The smart speaker needs to use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet as there is no Ethernet port.

Amazon Books
																Amazon Books bookstore in New York City. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Cash (in the United States and Canada) and Amazon Top Up (in the United Kingdom) are services allowing Amazon shoppers to add money to their Amazon account at a physical retail store.

Amazon Cash
																Amazon Cash logo. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Home Services, aimed at offering homeowners a marketplace for professional services such as plumbing, electrical, audio/visual installation, and lawn services (home improvement services).

The Home Services category is designed to make finding a specialist easy by verifying that providers are properly licensed and insured for the job.

Amazon Publishing (APub) is Amazon's book publishing unit launched in 2009. It is composed of 15 imprints including AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, and TOPPLE Books.

Amazon Publishing
																Amazon Publishing logo. (via amazon.com)

Amazon Warehouse resells millions of like-new, open-box, and pre-owned items that have been returned by customers at a great discount.

Amazon Kindle devices enable users to browse, buy, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, and other digital media via wireless networking to the Kindle Store.

  • The Kindle Store is an online e-book e-commerce store operated by Amazon as part of its retail website.
  • One of the innovations Amazon brought to the store was one-click purchasing that allowed users to quickly purchase an ebook. The Kindle Store uses a recommendation engine that looks at purchase history, browsing history, and reading activity, and then suggests material it thinks the user will like.

Amazon Kindle
																Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 4. (via amazon.com)

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